Croatia and Montenegro have been on my bucket list for some time. Given the recent troubles in the Middle East, and the continued upheaval at British Airways, our upcoming flights to Qatar were cancelled, so I jumped at the chance to book some last minute flights. I paid £528 for two flights, which is no bargain, so I’m keen to save money in Dubrovnik and Kotor. I’ve teamed up with a bunch of other travel bloggers to bring you some fabulous money saving tips for visiting this part of the world. Let’s hear what they have to say.
Take a walk on the Wild side – Michael – The World Was Here First
One of the best ways to save money in Kotor is to enjoy the great outdoors and hike! While Kotor’s most popular hike, climbing the city walls, charges €3 during tourist season, there are plenty of other hikes that you can enjoy for free. One of the most spectacular free hikes is the climb to Fort Vrmac, an abandoned fortress.
This hike is on the opposite side of the bay to Kotor’s famous city walls, which means you get spectacular views of Kotor’s Old Town as you climb to Fort Vrmac. The hike will take about 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your fitness level. Once at the top you can explore the abandoned fortress or continue your hike to other nearby villages.
Visit nearby Perast – Natasha – The World Pursuit
A great way to save some money on a trip to Kotor, is to head over to the neighbouring town of Perast. It’s only a 15-minute bus ride along the gorgeous bay to the small town. The architecture and history are the same as Kotor, but it’s around the corner of the bay, so you have a view with no cruise ships and their passengers.
We were able to save a few dollars on a nice meal out on the water in the shoulder season as they were slow. When you finish your meal you can catch a cheap boat ride out to see Our Lady of The Rocks, which only cost €5 in spring.
Book accommodation outside the old town – Margherita – The Crowded Planet
The number one place we wanted to head to during our recent visit to Montenegro was Kotor. However, when we saw how much it cost to stay in the Old Town, we were about to change our plans and skip the country.
Luckily, we didn’t have to – Kotor is surrounded by many really cool fishermen villages, where you can easily rent a room or an apartment for a fraction of what you’d pay in the Old City. In Muo, our base for a week, there were several apartments located right in front of the coast (there aren’t real beaches in Kotor Bay). Kotor was just twenty minutes or so walk away, and about five minutes by bus or taxi.
Staying outside of Kotor Old Town also allowed us to have a more ‘authentic’ experience – we bought fish straight from the fishermen and headed to local konoba when we wanted to eat out. If I went back to Kotor, I’d definitely stay in Muo again!
Book accommodation outside the old town – Inma – A World to Travel
As you know, Dubrovnik’s most touristy area is the walled city. Therefore, trying to get your accommodation sorted within the old city can get extremely pricey. My first suggestion to save money is to book your hotel outside King’s Landing and its busy streets. (Anne: we were astounded by how expensive some of the hotels are and settled on an Airbnb just outside the old town. If you use this link to sign up, you can get £30 of FREE credit towards your first stay! Our apartment in Villa Bona had spectacular views of the sea, a lovely private terrace and was extremely quiet. The added bonus was that Antonella, the hostess, was amazing!)
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My second best tip is to avoid visiting the city from late Spring to early Fall. It is insanely crowded and prices go up accordingly. Instead, try late Fall or early Spring. With mild temperatures and fewer tourists, you will enjoy a more meaningful trip and save money at the same time!
Finally, I have a third tip: Explore the nearby islands! Cheaper and, again, with not so many tourists, islands like the gorgeous Korcula will make you feel as if you have stepped into paradise.
Head to the market – Kristen – Travels and Treats
In Dubrovnik, Croatia, your food tab can add up really quickly. Many of the restaurants in the Old Town area are overpriced because they are in a busy tourist hot spot. Eating out can be extremely pricey, but here’s a few tips to help you save money on food during your time in Dubrovnik.
If you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, consider cooking for yourself for a few meals. You can pick up fresh, locally-grown produce at the Gundulićeva Poljana Market in the heart of the Old Town. The market is set up every morning and sells beautiful fruit and vegetables, locally-made olive oil and other produce.
Another money-saving tip for food is to eat at restaurants that are located outside of the Old Town. Most of the restaurants located within the Old Town walls are expensive and flooded with crowds during the tourist season. If you head a few blocks out of the Old Town, you’ll have better luck finding affordable dining options
Hire a car (yours truly!)
We planned to hire a car but a taxi transfer from the airport to Dubrovnik costs €30 each way. For £97 we hired a car for a week.
For just £40 extra, we have the freedom to explore to our heart’s content. Given, we paid double that in Albania last month, I’m delighted with this find.
You may also like – Five Easy Ways To Save Money On Hotels, Flights and Travel Spend
Do you have any other tips?
Maybe you have visited Croatia or Montenegro and have some top tips you would like to share. Don’t be shy, we would love to gain your insight.